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Lewis Hamilton wants South Africa included in Formula 1 calendar

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has called for South Africa’s return to the Formula 1 calendar

FILE - Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has called for South Africa’s return to the Formula 1 calendar. Photo: Henry Romero/Reuters

Published Apr 8, 2022

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Melbourne — While many drivers welcomed the addition of Las Vegas to the Formula 1 calendar next season, seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton called for South Africa to also be returned to the roster.

Nearly 30 years have passed since the country hosted an F1 race in 1993, and Africa is the only inhabited continent which does not feature on the current calendar.

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"We're pretty much on every other continent, so why not?" said Mercedes driver Hamilton.

"And ultimately, my ancestors are from there so that's why it is important for me personally."

Hamilton’s response came after he was asked about the prospect of racing in Las Vegas, which many of the drivers welcomed.

Las Vegas will join Austin and Miami as the third race in the United States in the 2023 calendar as F1 looks to make further inroads into the lucrative market.

The championship's expansion into new territory has put some of the older European races under scrutiny, with F1 boss Stefano Domenicali warning that some might need to make way for new ones elsewhere.

Four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel said while it was exciting to have new destinations on the calendar, it would be a shame to drop older European races like Monaco or Monza in Italy.

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"Obviously there is financial interest in new places that we are going to and F1 is a business. But I think for us it's a sport; it's a passion," the Aston Martin driver said.

"So we don't see it as a business.

"Places mean something because of the history they have or the tradition they have.

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"I think it needs a sort of mixture between exploring but also holding onto places that have history."

Red Bull's Sergio Perez was thrilled with the prospect of Las Vegas joining the calendar but said F1 needed to keep its "historic tracks".

"And we have to make sure that when we go to new venues, to really have some character on the tracks, you know," said the Mexican.

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"I felt like some of the new tracks kind of lack a bit of character. So that will be very important."

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Reuters

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